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2024 Senior Bowl: Winners and Losers

2024 Senior Bowl

The 2024 Senior Bowl game took place this past Saturday with the National team victorious over the American team, 16-7. The game was a culmination of a week’s worth of practices, meetings, and other things for nearly 140 2024 NFL Draft prospects.

I was at every practice and the game and I could clearly see a few things involving who had a ton of success and who may have suffered a setback on their path to the draft.

While I hesitate to call anyone a “loser” from the 2024 Senior Bowl week. It is the antonym for “winner” so it is just a natural fit. Let’s break it down.

2024 Senior Bowl: Winners and Losers

WINNERS

TOLEDO CB QUINYON MITCHELL

Quinyon Mitchell entered Senior Bowl week as a borderline first-round pick. He exits Mobile as potentially CB1. Mitchell locked down the National team wide receivers for two days in practice. Michigan WR Roman Wilson dominated the 1-on-1s on Tuesday. On Wednesday, he was paired with Mitchell four times and got nothing. Can Mitchell surpass Kool-Aid McKinstry (Alabama), Terrion Arnold (Alabama), and others to be the top cornerback selected? Combine testing may tell the tale. But right now, he is at worst #2 on my CB board. 

SOUTH CAROLINA QB SPENCER RATTLER

Spencer Rattler had a few stumbles during the Tuesday practice but was great the rest of the way. As the only passer in the game with experience in a pro-style offense, Rattler had a small advantage. He is undersized but has a huge arm, moves the pocket well, and is $2 steak tough.

Rattler won the 2024 Senior Bowl game MVP after going 4/4 for 65 yards and a score. I think he has separated from the group of passers that includes Tulane’s Michael Pratt. Rattler could end up as a third-round draft pick.

NFL TEAMS NEEDING OFFENSIVE LINE HELP

The offensive tackle class in the 2024 NFL Draft class looks loaded at this point. With Olu Fashanu, Joe Alt, and Amarius Mims perceived at the top, there are plenty of options, especially amongst the Senior Bowl crop.

Oklahoma’s Tyler Guyton, Taliese Fuaga (Oregon State), Arizona’s Jordan Morgan, and Patrick Paul (Houston) are either first-round locks are pushing to get in. The depth extends into the second and third rounds with Kingsley Suamataia (BYU), Roger Rosengarten (Washington), Javon Foster (Missouri), and Delmar Glaze (Maryland).

This is not to mention the interior offensive line. Possibly the best player in Mobile this week was Oregon center Jackson Powers-Johnson. In my eight years covering the game, I don’t believe I have ever seen an offensive lineman never lose a rep in 1-on-1s. JPJ dominated and secured himself into the first round.

The day two (and early day three) depth is phenomenal as well. Prospects like Christian Haynes (UConn), Layden Robinson (Texas A&M), Kingsley Eguakun (Florida), Sataoa Laumea (Utah), Andrew Raym (Oklahoma), and Zach Frazier (West Virginia) all have a chance to be plug-and-play starters.

UNHERALDED CORNERBACKS

We talked about Quinyon Mitchell but he wasn’t the only cornerback that stood out and raided their draft profile this week. Auburn’s DJ James and Kris Abrams-Draine (Missouri) solidified their spots as day two picks on my board.

Jarvis Brownlee, Jr. (Louisville), Andru Phillips (Kentucky), and Cam Hart (Notre Dame) all will see a significant bump on my board. 

Fresno State’s Carlton Johnson was consistently one of the fastest players during practice. While Chau Smith-Wade (Washington State) may have struggled during the week of practice he excelled during the 2024 Senior Bowl game with three solo tackles, two interceptions, and a PBU. He was probably robbed of a touchdown.

THE SENIOR BOWL

For the first time since 2010 (and the first time since moving the game to Hancock Whitney Stadium) the game sold its full allotment of tickets (announced attendance of 25,450).

They will likely have 6-10 first-round picks, over 40 players taken in the first 100 picks, and will have a record number of players drafted from the game. Jim Nagy and his staff have done a great job assembling this year’s roster.

LOSERS

ALL QBs NOT NAMED RATTLER

The other six quarterbacks lacked any consistency during the week and into the game. Michael Penix (Washington) showed off the big arm but never really put anything together (and then opted to not play in the game.

Bo Nix was solid during the week and the game (what little he played) but didn’t do anything that screamed draft me in round one. Michael Pratt (Tulane) may have blown any shot of going in the Top 100. Carter Bradley (South Alabama) had his moments in practice but is likely a UDFA. Some teams are going to talk themselves into Joe Milton (Tennessee) on day three because of the size and big arm. They may as well set that pick on fire instead.

And then there is Sam Hartman (Notre Dame). Hartman had to go the distance during the game because of Penix and Nix bailing out. He responded by completing 7 of 25 passes for 69 yards and a pick. Hartman will probably kick around an NFL practice squad and the UFL for a year or two before taking his spot on “The Bachelor” and hosting some Food Network programming like Jesse Palmer.

THE 2024 TIGHT END CLASS

Georgia’s Brock Bowers is going to be a first-round pick. Ja’Tavion Sanders (Texas) should go in the second round. After that good luck. The 2024 Senior Bowl featured six TEs and I am not sure any of them go before day three.

Florida State’s Jaheim Bell is the best of the rest but he is a tight end in name only. Bell will play a lot of fullback and h-back at the NFL level. Carving out a role for himself similar to the one that the Ravens have with Isaiah Likely.

Jared Wiley (TCU) looks like a tight end but athletic testing will be key for him. Same for Kansas State’s Ben Sinnott. AJ Barner from Michigan is a blocker for the most part. Brevyn Spann-Ford (Minnesota) is…not…very…good.

PENN STATE CB KALEN KING

Kalen King entered the season being mocked into the first round. He struggled during the year and continued to struggle during Senior Bowl practice. I am not sure if he won more than one rep during the 1-on-1s. 

If gets drafted before the fifth-round it will be too early.

MARSHALL RB RASHEEN ALI

It is rare to see a player suffer a significant injury during a Senior Bowl practice. The last one I remembered before this week was when the Oklahoma CB Aaron Colvin tore his ACL. That was until Marshall RB Rasheen Ali ruptured his bicep. Ali had an amazing day of practice on Tuesday before the injury. The injury will require surgery and force Ali to miss 4-6 months of action.

He entered the process as a late day-three prospect but now will likely go undrafted.

THE SENIOR BOWL

The Senior Bowl is now entering concerning territory. Last year, from the start of practice until the game, 35 players opted out of the game. This year that number went up to 39. This isn’t counting an additional 10 that quit playing in the middle of the game. 

The attrition became so bad that the National team only had three defensive tackles left. So, Florida State’s Braden Fiske swapped teams the morning of the game. The National team also only had three wide receivers for the entire game.

Jim Nagy stated today that they intentionally over-invited for the game this year (the roster started at 138 players) just to prepare for this situation and they still left shorthanded. I really don’t know what the end game is. The NFL obviously isn’t going to punish the players. They have shown that over the last decade. 

So what do you do? You have to invite the best players. If not your game suffers. Do you invite even more players? If you get a roster of 150+ then the practices suffer because the players get fewer reps.

Does this eventually lead to not having the actual game? The CGS has done this for years. Now granted they don’t have many draftable prospects but the concept works for them.

I just don’t think that works for the Senior Bowl. The Mobile Arts and Sports Association isn’t going to front this deal without getting a game at the end of the week. I trust that Jim Nagy and the crew will come up with a plan. Because if they can’t, then my hometown of Mobile loses the only thing they have that is worth anything. 

WHAT’S NEXT

Shane P Hallam will be along tomorrow with his All-Star Game winners and Pigskin Paul will deliver his ASG superlatives on Friday.

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